Six helpful strategies for mentoring immigrant youth

by Jean Rhodes When he was 15 years old, Javier immigrated to the United States with his mom and little brother. Their plane touched down on a snowy night in Hartford, Connecticut where Javier’s father Osmin anxiously awaited. Osmin had been part of a labor movement organization in El Salvador and was forced by threat of […]

“Grit” is not a panacea for the problems facing disadvantaged youth

By Jean Rhodes Grit is in the limelight. Schools are teaching and testing for grit, and mentoring programs are increasingly exploring ways to incorporate training in grit and other social and emotional skills into mentors’ toolkits. Professor Angela Duckworth’s excellent research and new bestseller on the topic have fueled both enthusiasm for such efforts as well as debate […]

There’s no substitute for someone who gets you

by Laura Yoviene and Jean Rhodes We like people who “get” us–those friends and family members who seem to understand who we are at an intuitive level and yet love and appreciate us all the same. Students gravitate toward teachers, guidance counselors, and other adults who get them, which creates opportunities for these caring adults to influence students’ career choices and […]

Robert Putnum on why mentors matter

Illustration by Greg Clarke Editor’s Note: This article, which appeared in the October 2015 issue of The Rotarian, provides a nice overview of the issues that Harvard Professor raised in his 2015 book, Our Kids. It describes social capital and how mentors can help redress the growing wealth gap in the U.S.  We Americans like to think of ourselves […]

Mentoring is not enough: We also need to move upstream

by Jean E. Rhodes Imagine that you’re sitting with a friend beside a river enjoying your lunch. Now, picture this: just as you take your first bite, you hear the sound of a child splashing in the river. To your horror, you realize that she is drowning. What do you do? Even before I hand […]

Explaining terror to children and adolescents

by Jean Rhodes, Ph.D. The attacks in Paris raise difficult questions for mentors. Should mentors, teachers, and other caring adults shelter young people from stories and explanations, and shift conversation elsewhere. Although this might be a good idea in some instances, there may be situations when it’s helpful to talk through difficult topics with mentees. Particularly […]

Sherpas, Anchors, and VIPS: Do we need a new term for “natural mentors?”

by Jean Rhodes What do you call a caring adult who helps young people in their everyday lives? This isn’t a riddle, it’s a question that perplexed experts and led to a lot of debate at a recent mini-conference on “natural mentors.” The volunteers who are trained and supported through programs are formal mentors, but the term natural mentor can […]

The Elements in the Room: Reflections on the new practice guidelines

  The Elements in the Room: Reflections on the new practice guideline by Jean Rhodes, Ph.D. and Janis Kupersmidt, Ph.D. Last week, MENTOR released its much-anticipated 4th edition of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM). The “Elements” is a collection of research- and safety-informed practices for guiding the work of youth mentoring programs. This […]

60,000 college graduates have spoken: Mentors are a game changer!

by Jean E.Rhodes The field of mentoring owes a great debt to the Gallup-Purdue Index, a study whose goal is to  “to conduct the largest representative study of college graduates in United States history.” To date, the team has surveyed 60,000 college graduates, resulting in a 2014 report and another report to be released in the […]

What we can learn from community psychology and public health

 by Jean Rhodes As mentoring programs gear up for the fall, many face the problem of long waitlists, resulting from shortages of volunteers (especially men of color). Efforts to mobilize caring adults can increase capacity but volunteer pools often remain limited by the cost of outreach and the growing (and sizable) gap between the number […]